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Maximizing Compensation in Wrongful Death Cases: What You Need to Know

by Jun 8, 2024Mike Miller, Personal Injury, Wrongful Death

Losing a loved one is one of the most devastating experiences, especially when the death results from someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions. In such cases, surviving family members have the right to seek compensation through a wrongful death claim 

Maximizing compensation in these cases requires a thorough understanding of the legal process, the types of damages available, and the strategic steps necessary to build a strong case. 

Understanding Wrongful Death Claims 

A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit brought by the survivors of a deceased person against the party responsible for their death. In Minnesota, wrongful death claims can be filed by the deceased’s surviving spouse, children, parents, or other dependents. These claims seek to hold the responsible party accountable and provide financial compensation for the losses suffered by the survivors. 

Wrongful death can result from various circumstances, including car accidents, medical malpractice, workplace accidents, defective products, nursing home abuse, and criminal acts. Each case is unique, and the approach to maximizing compensation will depend on the specific facts and circumstances surrounding the death. 

Types of Damages in Wrongful Death Cases 

To maximize compensation in a wrongful death case, it’s crucial to understand the different types of damages that can be awarded. In Minnesota, damages in wrongful death cases can be categorized into economic and non-economic damages. 

Economic damages are quantifiable financial losses incurred as a result of the wrongful death. These may include medical expenses for treatment provided before death, funeral and burial costs, the deceased’s expected future earnings and benefits, and the value of services the deceased provided, such as childcare and housekeeping. 

Non-economic damages compensate for the intangible losses suffered by the survivors. These may include the emotional loss of companionship, love, and affection, the loss of the deceased’s guidance and support, and the emotional distress and suffering experienced by the survivors due to the loss of their loved one. 

Steps to Maximize Compensation in Wrongful Death Cases 

The first and most crucial step in maximizing compensation is to hire an experienced wrongful death attorney. A skilled lawyer will have the experience and resources to handle the complexities of your case, gather evidence, and build a compelling argument for maximum compensation. Look for a Minnesota wrongful death lawyer with a proven track record of success in similar cases. 

Preserve Evidence 

Collecting and preserving evidence is essential to building a strong wrongful death case. Your attorney will work with you to gather evidence such as medical records detailing the deceased’s treatment and condition, police reports or workplace incident reports documenting the incident, testimonies from individuals who witnessed the incident or have relevant information, and expert testimony from medical professionals or accident reconstruction specialists. 

Document Financial Losses 

Thoroughly documenting all financial losses resulting from the wrongful death is crucial for maximizing economic damages. This includes itemized statements of all medical expenses incurred, detailed invoices for funeral and burial costs, documentation of the deceased’s income and benefits, and an assessment of the value of services the deceased provided to the household. 

Assess Non-Economic Losses 

Non-economic losses can be challenging to quantify, but they are a critical component of wrongful death compensation. Work with your attorney to assess the impact of the loss on your emotional well-being, relationships, and overall quality of life. Providing detailed accounts of the deceased’s role in your life and the emotional toll of their absence can help strengthen your claim for non-economic damages. 

Avoid Quick Settlements 

Insurance companies and defendants may offer quick settlements to resolve the case swiftly and minimize their financial liability. While it may be tempting to accept an early settlement, it is often in your best interest to avoid doing so without consulting your attorney. Quick settlements may not fully account for the extent of your losses and could leave you undercompensated. Your attorney will negotiate on your behalf to ensure you receive a fair and just settlement. 

Consider Future Needs 

When calculating compensation, consider your future needs and the long-term impact of the wrongful death. This includes potential future medical expenses, ongoing counseling or therapy, and the financial support needed to maintain your standard of living. Your attorney will work with financial experts to project future losses and ensure they are accounted for in your claim. 

Be Prepared for Trial 

While many wrongful death cases are settled out of court, it is essential to be prepared for the possibility of a trial. Your attorney will develop a trial strategy, gather evidence, and prepare witnesses to present a compelling case before a judge and jury. Demonstrating your readiness to go to trial can also strengthen your negotiating position during settlement discussions. 

The Importance of Legal Representation 

Navigating the complexities of a wrongful death claim can be overwhelming, especially while dealing with the emotional toll of losing a loved one. Having an experienced Minnesota wrongful death lawyer by your side can significantly increase your chances of a successful outcome. A skilled attorney can: 

  • Evaluate Your Case: Assess your case and determine if you meet the eligibility criteria for expungement. 
  • Prepare the Petition: Help you gather the necessary documents and prepare a strong expungement petition. 
  • Represent You in Court: Advocate on your behalf during the court hearing and address any objections from government agencies. 
  • Provide Legal Advice: Offer guidance and support throughout the expungement process. 

Dedicated Wrongful Death Case Attorneys 

Maximizing compensation in wrongful death cases requires a comprehensive and strategic approach. By understanding the types of damages available, preserving evidence, documenting losses, and working with an experienced Minnesota wrongful death lawyer, you can build a strong case and seek the compensation you deserve. 

At Sieben Edmunds Miller, our dedicated wrongful death attorneys are committed to helping families navigate the complexities of wrongful death claims and achieve justice for their loved ones. If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, contact us today for a consultation. Let us provide the legal support and guidance you need to maximize your compensation and honor the memory of your loved one. 

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